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Opponents want fee on lands leased for fracking

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland opponents of a controversial drilling technique want to asses a $10 per-acre fee on land leased for extracting gas.

The retroactive fee would apply to lands leased for hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, a method of drilling that extracts the gas by blasting through layers of shale rock with a combination of water and chemicals.

The bill, sponsored by Del. Heather Mizeur, would use the fee to pay for a safe drilling study commissioned by Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, last year.

Mizeur, a Democrat from Montgomery County, and representatives from the Chesapeake Climate Action Network will host a news conference on Lawyers Mall in Annapolis Tuesday morning before the Senate version of the bill is heard in that chamber’s Finance Committee.